• Italy's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Italian firms seal Iran deals worth up to €17 billion
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani with Italy's Prime Minister Matteo Renzi on Monday. Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP

Italian firms seal Iran deals worth up to €17 billion

AFP · 26 Jan 2016, 08:28

Published: 26 Jan 2016 08:28 GMT+01:00

Italian officials said contracts signed in Rome late Monday would be worth up to €17 billion ($18.4 billion), topped by a €5 billion deal for pipeline company Saipem, whose shares surged 18.5 percent in Milan on Monday.

A major order for Airbus planes is expected to be confirmed in France on Wednesday along with tie-ups with French carmakers Peugeot and Renault.

Rouhani said he had come to Europe with an 'open for business' message in the aftermath of Tehran's nuclear deal with the West.

"The Iranian market offers Italian and European investors the opportunity to establish themselves in the entire region," he said.

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi added: "We have signed the first accords but we are only at the start of a long road."

Renzi said he had discussed efforts to end the war in Syria and the fight against the Islamic State group with the Iranian leader.

"If we could reach agreement on the nuclear issue, we can find one on Syria. We can and we have to."

Rouhani is due at the Vatican on Tuesday before flying to France the next day on his first official European trip as president. It is also his first overseas trip since the nuclear deal came into force earlier this month, clearing the way for Iran to rebuild its relationship with the West.

The Iranian leader is accompanied by more than 100 ministers, officials and businessmen.

Rouhani, a 67-year-old former academic and diplomat who is seen as a pragmatist, was elected in 2013 on a pledge to end sanctions and improve relations with the West.

"We have had friendly relations with Italy and France in the past and we want to continue our good relations with them," Rouhani told reporters before his departure on Monday from Mehrabad Airport.

He also revealed that "important contracts" were in the works with Peugeot and Renault, adding to a burgeoning list of deals being struck as European companies scramble to get back into a $400-billion economy with the world's fourth biggest oil reserves and a consumer market of 80 million people.

Billions up for grabs

National carrier Iran Air said on Sunday it would be buying 114 Airbus planes to modernize an ageing fleet that has struggled to stay in the air as a result of the impact of sanctions.

That deal alone underlines the huge economic stakes involved in Iran's re-opening, particularly for Europe's manufacturing and engineering sectors.

Iran's Transport Minister Abbas Akhoundi said the first Airbuses were earmarked for delivery by March and that Iran was in the market for a total of up to 500 planes.

Peugeot is tipped to forge a car assembly joint venture with Iran Khodro, reviving a partnership which generated Iranian sales of 473,000 units in its last year before the French company pulled out in 2012.

Iranian media reported the deal will involve investment of €500 million.

Story continues below…

Iran's Central Bank governor said last week the country was counting on the nuclear deal unblocking some $50 billion worth of foreign investment.

Italian companies have been amongst the quickest off the blocks with a major business delegation having visited Tehran in November and some 500 entrepreneurs invited to a forum Rouhani will attend on Tuesday.

Italy was formerly Iran's biggest European trading partner, but trade has dwindled to a fifth of its former volume as a result of the sanctions.

National carrier Alitalia said on Monday it was upgrading its Rome-Tehran service from four a week to a daily flight in anticipation of increased business and tourist travel.

Amid the scramble for slices of the Iranian pie, rights groups fear Tehran's repression of political dissent and extensive use of the death penalty (700 executions in 2015 according to the UN) will be forgotten.

Pope Francis is expected to reiterate the Vatican's concerns on both issues, as well as asking Rouhani to help protect Christians in the Middle East.

For more news from Italy, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Why quake-hit Amatrice will never be the same again
Amatrice had been due to host its Amatriciana pasta festival this weekend. Photo: Angela Giuffrida

The Lazio town of Amatrice was the hardist-hit by Wednesday's devastating earthquake. The Local's Angela Giuffrida visited what is left of the town on Friday.

Italian flags at half mast for quake victims
More than 280 people were killed in the 6.2-magnitude earthquake that struck on August 24. Photo: Andreas Solaro /AFP

Flags flew at half mast across Italy on Saturday as the country observed a day of mourning for the victims of an earthquake that killed nearly 300 people.

Italy earthquake
Italy prepares to mourn earthquake dead
Collapsed buildings in Amatrice. Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

No survivors have been found since Thursday.

Italy earthquake
Rescuers search for 15 still missing in Amatrice
A suitcase in the rubble of a collapsed home in Amatrice. Photo: Angela Giuffrida/The Local

A team of specialist rescue workers from Shanghai is searching for 15 people unaccounted for in Amatrice, the Lazio town torn apart by Wednesday's devastating earthquake.

Italy earthquake
Italy’s museums offer takings to restore quake-hit region
A damaged church in Amatrice. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

Italy's museums will donate all money raised from ticket sales on Sunday to help restore cultural treasures damaged or destroyed by Wednesday’s 6.0 magnitude in central Italy.

Italy earthquake
Food the only comfort for Italy’s earthquake survivors
A refugee dines at a makeshift camp in central Italy. Photo: Mario Laporta/AFP

"Because even in these dire cases it's important to give a good meal to those who have lost everything."

Italy earthquake
In pics: Makeshift shelters house Italy's quake survivors
An earthquake victim beds down at a makeshift shelter in Amatrice. Photo: Marco Zepatella/AFP

An estimated 2,500 people have lost their homes following the 6.0 magnitude earthquake which hit central Italy on Wednesday.

Italy earthquake
Strong aftershock rattles devastated Amatrice
An aftershock measuring 4.8 struck Amatrice again on Friday morning. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

The small town of Amatrice was hit by another aftershock, measuring 4.8 in magnitude, on Friday morning, causing more damage in the centre of the town where at least 193 were killed in Wednesday’s devastating earthquake.

Italy earthquake
Three Britons among dead in Italy earthquake
Rescuers continued their search for bodies on Friday morning. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

At least eight foreigners, including three Britons, a Spanish national, a Canadian and a citizen from El Salvador, were among the 250 people killed when a powerful earthquake struck central Italy this week, officials said, as rescuers continued the grim search for corpses on Friday.

Italy earthquake
Italy earthquake death toll revised down to 241
Volunteers join rescue services in Amatrice. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

UPDATED: The death toll from a powerful earthquake in central Italy was revised downwards to 241 on Thursday but officials cautioned it could rise again as rescuers continued a grim search for corpses, as powerful aftershocks rocked the devastated area.

Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
National
Why discontented Italians could derail their economy
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Society
Keep passports safe: Typical pickpocket scams revealed
Culture
Why coffee in Italy is a culture you must taste to understand
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Society
The richest families in Florence in 1427 are still rich today
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Culture
So why do pasta-loving Italians live such long lives?
National
Italy's Renzi prepares for stormy autumn
Society
This 104-year-old just saw the sea for the first time
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
National
Should Rome give up on its 2024 Olympic dream?
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Society
The Italian doctor giving hope to thousands of migrants
Culture
Ten 'Italian' dishes that don't actually exist in Italy
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Sport
Five Italian athletes going for gold at the Rio Olympics
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Travel
Trastevere: From a fiery past to Rome’s souvenir stand
Politics
Think Trump would be a disaster? Just ask the Italians
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
National
How Brexit has helped to expose Italy’s banking malaise
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Politics
After Brexit, keep a close eye on Italy's Five Star Movement
Lifestyle
12 mistakes foreigners make when moving to Italy
National
Why Milan could be Europe's post-Brexit financial hub
Travel
Five crowd-free alternatives to Italy's tourist hotspots
National
Italian hotspots struggling with 'too many tourists'
Culture
Meet the Italian chef behind the world's best restaurant
2,493
jobs available